This week, our crew spent time organizing interviews and finalizing general story ideas. However, we also spent time in theaters watching and enjoying the newest hit films!
Since each film we viewed was a different genre, WCP decided to review each of them for our subscribers! We enjoy and appreciate all styles and forms of cinema, our reviews are honest and we hope they get you out to the theaters!
Steven – John Wick: Chapter 2
Last weekend I went with my family to see the new film John Wick Chapter: 2 starring Keanu Reeves, Ruby Rose and Ian McShane, directed by Chad Stahelski. The film is a direct sequel to the 2014 cult hit John Wick, this film picks up it is to be assumed a couple months after the events of the first film with the titular Wick attempting to get back to the normal life he had before he was forced out of retirement through the events of the first film. Until Richardo Scamarcio’s character, Santonio D’Antonio the main antagonist of the film, comes to Wick with a task that Wick must complete or risk be killed by the organization he was free of. Begrudgingly Wick accepts and the rest of the film carries on from there.
In terms of plot this film is essentially a two hour prolonged action sequence with bits of story put in here and there, but when going to see a film like this that is what you want. The action sequences are works of art with Reeves impressively doing most of his fight choreography. The rest of the cast does a fantastic job in this as well, Ruby Rose playing the deaf assassin Ares, does not actually have any dialogue in the film but gives a great performance none the less, Ian McShane returns after appearing in the first film as Winston and as always knocks this performance out of the park. Lawrence Fishburne makes an appearance and it is nice to see he and Reeves on the same screen again, and the filmmakers did a great job of not making a big deal of the fact that the two were in The Matrix together. I loved this film for all the reasons mentioned above and more, it expands on the world created in the first film while also not explaining to much to the audience allowing us to figure things out on our own. The only issues I have is that, first Common gives a less than stellar performance and this film is obviously made with a third in mind so the story does not wrap up like in the first film.
Katin – La La Land
Last week, in the fading hours of Valentine’s Day, I took my girlfriend to Harkins theater in Flagstaff to see La La Land. Although not my personal first choice for the evening, there’s no arguing with your significant other on V-Day. I hadn’t seen much about the film in advertisements but a few of my friends in San Francisco had been drooling over it since its initial box office release in late December. I am a huge fan of all kinds of cinema, including musicals, so in the back of my mind I was excited to see the film, just maybe not so excited on admitting it to my date. I have been a fan of Ryan Gosling for awhile, and seeing that this film marked the third on-screen romance for Gosling and co-star Emma Stone, I knew it would be an emotional two-hour piece. On that note, no spoilers are given, so read away without fear!
Right off the opening scene, I knew the film was something I would be personally relating to. The two main characters, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) were both young, ambitious, aspiring entertainers in the heated hustle of Hollywood. The film follows the relationship of the two blossoming characters, through jazz clubs, Griffith Observatory, aged movie theaters, and the coastal piers of the Los Angeles beaches. The two struggle on and off to balance their new found relationship with their challenges of living their dream -Sebastian a jazz club owner and Mia a famous actress- however, it wasn’t the emotional storyline that made me love this film, but rather the familiarly nostalgic colors and choreography which arguably launched the musical genre to popularity when color film began circulating in the 1950’s. This film is visually stunning in the sets and costumes, as every location is layered elegantly in vivid color schemes and lighting. The warm Los Angeles piers are dimly lit, allowing the palette of the Southern California sunset to drape the scene, the dark jazz clubs seem to illuminate with neon lights, artistically painting the setting with strokes of light. The costumes used throughout made me recall immediately (and fondly) of Singing in the Rain, in which vibrant and bright colors made the dancers and music come to life and pop off screen; and director Damien Chazelle, along with his talented art and costume design departments, prove to be just as good. I thought La La Land really stuck true to the musical genre roots, going back to the birth of the genre with Singing in the Rain (1952) and A Star is Born (1954). The choreography was fast paced and creatively synchronized with the musical score as well, also the bouts of tap dancing brought genuine excitement (and impressive footwork) to the screen. It was really enjoyable to see a modern film pay respects and homage to the films that sparked the genre and I am hoping to see the cast and crew take home a number of Academy Awards later this month!
Rating : 9/10
Cody – Split
I absolutely loved the Meisner acting from the psychotic and twisted main antagonist played by James McAvoy. It was easy to see that the psychology that went into the performance was scientifically outstanding. Even with such a solid from the main actor, I was concerned with two of the three actresses who portrayed high school girls. I really don’t think they sold their performance of girls who were kid napped. For half the movie, their emotions were not how I would picture someone who just got captured and thrown into a dungeon. I think it hurt the credibility of the film.
It was also shot extremely well, which helped bring even more terror and anxiety to the screen! I would rate the movie 4.5/5 stars, with an amazing plot, and great casting.
Comment below if you’ve seen anything you just HAVE to share with us!